Bourne Town Council agrees venue move in case of big crowds

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Bourne Town Council has voted to spend more than £500 a year to hold its full council meetings and public forums at a larger venue despite having an average of just four members of the public at its meetings.

The town council moved into a newly-renovated area in the South Kesteven Community Access Point, housed in the Bourne Corn Exchange, from the town hall in March.

The move for a larger venue follows an open public forum on August 6 when about 40 people turned out to hear discussions on car parking space being taken away from Burghley Street car park.

The unexpected numbers meant many people had to stand and some could not even fit into the room.

Bourne Town Council clerk Nelly Jacobs, who was on holiday when the overcrowding occurred, said the situation was normally avoidable by renting a larger room for meetings where greater numbers of people were anticipated.

Councillors said they were embarrassed and uncomfortable with the situation at the August meeting and wished to avoid a repeat.

The council will use the Bourne Corn Exchange Hall for meetings whenever possible, at a cost of £45 a time. If the town council accommodation budget does not stretch to cover the costs they will be paid for from the general contingencies fund.

Following the large number of people who attended the public forum in August, and councillors feeling questions and enquiries were unsatisfactorily dealt with, the town council has also resolved to form a working party to discuss changing the format of the forum.

Councillors David Higgs, Pet Moisey, John Smith and Paul Knowles will consider and draft a guide to operate the forum in the future.

However, due to venues in the town being booked, the next Bourne Town Council meeting and open forum will be in the council’s offices.